Thoughts and meanderings from my corner of the state
Two parts of a Wyoming winter make my mood falter.
The first are the weeks just before Winter Solstice, when the world's at its darkest and the days are still shortening.
The second are the weeks when the wind won't let up. On Wednesday, the official high for the day in Cheyenne was 53 MPH sustained winds with 89 MPH gusts. From the west, of course. About 12 miles outside of town they recorded a 105 MPH gust. About 8:30, our lights flicked off and on a couple of times before staying off -- for five hours.
I'm grateful for our solid stone house. On moderately windy days, we rarely hear it, and the wind never rattles the entire house like it did when we lived in a little clapboard. This storm, however, just howled, even our house unable to block it out.
If you are to live in Wyoming, you must make peace with the wind on some level. I walk in 20-30 MPH sustained often and have learned to face it. I walk my neighborhood north to south instead of east to west to cut down the time I'm facing into it. I walk the west side of the streets for what little additional shelter the houses provide.
There's no making peace with 89 MPH gusts, though. This is wind that knocks down fences and rips down tree branches. It leaves me feeling agitated and trapped if I stay inside and battered if I venture outside. The storm is a thing to be endured until it passes.
The pandemic has been a stiff wind in my face all year, with gusts of civil unrest knocking me off-balance. Yesterday, the wind picked up. We had distressing news from three different family members, three different issues. Deepening dementia. Mental health crisis. Hospitalization with pneumonia (mercifully not COVID). I'm agitated and wanting to hunker down away from it all.
I can't say I'll embrace these winds, but I can face them. They're not unendurable.
I've seen enough Wyoming storms to know that some leave damage. Years of them leave cottonwoods bending, though still growing strong. But each storm passes and makes way for days of calm and sun.